Get To Know [Ep.6]: Monique Kidd

We made it! So, I have bad news and I have good news. The bad news is, this is the final episode in the visual artist series. The good news is, Season 2 is a thing. Stay tuned! Cyaa feel nuh way when music start play!

This series has been a lot of fun. I really stepped out of my shell with this blog and I’m glad that I did. It’s a new year and I have met some really cool and talented people. I’m looking forward to meeting much more. When it comes to the Arts, Jamaica is filled with so much talent! It’s a bit overwhelming at times but it just makes me feel proud to be Jamaican. Talented and cool are definitely two words that I would use to describe our guest this week. Meet Monique Kidd.

Take us back to that time in your life when you realized that you had this amazing artistic talent.

Monique: I started drawing because I used to give nuff trouble when I was younger (she still does) So, when I would misbehave my parents would take everything from me. If is TV dem lock it off, if is book dem tek it up but they couldn’t exactly stop me from drawing. So, that’s where I found my likkle enjoyment inna life. From there, it was just a hobby then I started to take it seriously in 2016.

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Art by: Monique Kidd

I was first introduced to your artwork when you made an appearance on popular morning television show, Smile Jamaica. What was that experience like for you?

It was overall nerve-racking. I remember I was just in the house and then I received a DM from one of the producers from TvJ (Television Jamaica) out of nowhere! Asking if I would like to present my art. I wasn’t even following TvJ on any social media platform. When I got there, in front of the cameras, I was just shaking. Mi did frighten because this was my first time displaying art on TV. I even forgot the name of one of my pieces but it was a nice experience. I think that was one of the reasons why I started to take my art seriously. 

I think it’s safe to say that your piece ‘Universe’ is a fan favourite. How long did it take you to complete it?

It took me about a week to finish it. Simply because, when I just started it, it neva look too right and I was ready to give up on it. It was just an idle piece for myself. After showing Leno, that’s when he decided that he wanted to use it as the cover art for his song, ‘Universe’.

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(Universe)

Art by: Monique Kidd

Some of your work is filled with unapologetic sexual innuendos. Why do you make it your point of duty to include this in your work?

I don’t know if it’s my face or overall appearance but people always went around saying that I look like a Christian or just one of those people that don’t know anything about sex. I didn’t appreciate being labelled as such and I guess, having sexual references in my work was a way of lashing out. Also, people often times view sex as a taboo topic. In the way where, if you find somebody talking about sex publicly, people would probably ask why are they so “brawling”. They always view this person as being too bold or speaking their mind too much. I mean, sex happens everyday, the taboo perspective is played out. 

Give me a list of things people should consider when it comes on to pricing for your art?

  1. Labour
  2. Art supplies needed to get the job done
  3. Time
  4. Size
  5. Intricacy

Some people see your hair and immediately assume that you’re a Rastafarian. Well, are you?

No, I’m not a Rasta. I wanted to go natural so I loc’d my hair. My natural hair is very thick and hard to comb so I decided to loc it and call it a day because I could not manage. That’s it, I just couldn’t be bothered. I do listen to a lot of Reggae, which is just based on how I’m feeling. I think Reggae is a powerful type of music. It is not for everybody but for me, it did conneck! It assisted me when I was in a very dark place in my life. I don’t eat meat but this is not based on being a Rasta, it’s really a decision I made for my health. When it comes to the Rastafarian teachings, I pick from them and really learn some things which would be beneficial in life. I definitely don’t follow everything from them but I have some respect for them.

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Art by: Monique Kidd  

Put your playlist on shuffle and give me the first five selections. Let’s see what you got.

  1. Lifted – Riki
  2. Can’t You See – Kiyanne
  3. Skywalker – Miguel ft. Travis Scott
  4. Garden – SZA
  5. Changes – H.E.R

In closing, is there anything that you would like to leave with the people?

For persons who are in my field, doing what you love comes first. Don’t think about how people are going to react to it. Eventually, you will have to consider it when it comes on to sales but if you’re making your art to please people, chances are you’re going to lose yourself as an artist. Furthermore, you will be very unhappy with the work you create.

Give thanks for reading! This is the end of Season 1 in the “Get To Know” series. No worries though, other visual artists will be featured in the future. For those who have been keeping up with the series from Episoode 1, BIG UP YOURSELF. I really appreciate the love and support. Stay tuned for Season 2! Nuff niceness is in store.

Keep up with Monique online and check out more of her amazing work.

Instagram: @kidding_art

Twitter: @kimmmon

  

 

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Get To Know [Ep.5]: Khari Kamau

Wah gwaan Wah gwaan? Bless up for checking in here. I appreciate it a lot. I must say that I had some nervous energy running through my body while typing this. That is due to how much I rate the artwork from this talented artist and the fact that I got the chance to do this feature on him. Yeah, I rate him a LOT!

Suh mi guh suh boom…..

You’re a part of the super group namely, REM Collective. For those who don’t know about the greatness, could you give us a little insight into what the group is all about?

Khari: Well, REM Collective is my family. Each person has a role to play, which makes what we aim to achieve possible. No entourage around here, just creators. From music to visual arts, we have it covered.

You do most of the artwork for recording artiste, Leno Banton. How did the link between you and Leno come about?

Doing art for Leno is just energies, you know? We became friends before REM (Rapid Eye Movement) was created and since then we been on a mission to get our art out to the world. Teamwork mek di dream work.

You also did the artwork for his debut album, REMSZN. Talk us through the creative process for this project.

The REMSZN artwork was fun. It took me a while to figure out the direction to go in. The whole thing is really a collage of IPhone pictures that we took. I took the picture of the tree in my yard and had Leno and Snr send me their pics. The clouds are all cut out and coloured by me with layers of textures to seal it.

(REMSZN cover and tracklist)

Art by: Khari Kamau

How often do you practice your craft?

I don’t think I practice enough but I observe and research a lot for my ideas. I’m working on getting more practice done for my new creations though.

bubbles

Art by: Khari Kamau

Put your playlist on shuffle and give me the first five selections. Let’s see what you got.

  1. Icon – Jaden Smith
  2. Mayor – Wiki
  3. Ascension – Flatbush Zombies
  4. Loyalty – Kendrick Lamar
  5. Poison Ivy – Little Simz

You recently did a collab piece with fellow artist, Abigail Titus (@tinysunthing) What was it like working with her and was this your first collab with her?

Yeah, this was my first collab with Abi. Working with her was great. I asked her for her floating islands and her colour choice. When I got back her part, I used the colours she chose to finish up and it came out pretty sick. It’s still one of my favourites.

Gypsy3

Art by: Khari Kamau & Tiny Sun Thing

Are there any Jamaican visual artists you have as a role model? If no, anyone overseas?

Right now, my favourite artist is @deweysaunders. He gives great advice and makes crazy career moves. Truly inspirational.

In closing, is there any message you would like to leave with the people?

Be yourself.

Give thanks for reading! Don’t be afraid to let me know what you think about this post or the series itself. Feedback is appreciated, whether it be negative or positive. I welcome it all. If you have any questions, link me!

Keep up with Khari online and check out more of his amazing artwork.

Twitter: @KhariKamau

Instagram: @khari.kamau

REM Collective: http://www.remcollective.com (@remcollectiveja)

Get To Know [Ep.4]: CeejArts

Blessings! I hope your week is going well thus far. If not, then I hope this post will brighten your mood. The fact that I’m ACTUALLY doing this series is pretty crazy. I have started a lot of things in the past but never really completed them. Well, now is the time to change that. 2 more episodes to go! This is exciting! What’s not so exciting, is the fact that, I have to find a way to balance blog work and school work now. *cue* We Pray – Dre Island ft. Popcaan

My passion for the culture is really the main thing that led me to starting this blog. Speaking of passion, our guest this week, full ah dat! I remember the first time I saw one of his art pieces and I was like, “Woooow, this is different. Something new and fresh.” I like new and fresh. Big up Protoje one time (yeah, he is the epitome of new and fresh) So, I had to link up with this talented bredda to get some insight into his awesomeness. This is CeejArts.

In your bio on Twitter, you state that you are JA’s only modern pop artist. Tell us a little more about this art style.

Ceej: The name of my art style is Modern Pop Art and like I’ve stated on my website, it’s the definitive 21st century evolution of Pop Art. It entails the use of cell shading and bright lines. Bright colours and outlines. That’s basically the basis of all my pieces with a little of my personality, of course. I don’t mind blending colours and doing effects like in Photoshop but that’s not my stlye and I belive that anything you do, you should make it your own, a true representation of your brand. That way it resonates.

BLACK GIRL IDEA-01-1 (Black Gold)

Art by: CeejArts

People generally fear what they don’t understand. Have you gotten any backlash for your art style? 

No. Not once. I do agree that people tend to fear what they don’t understand but people don’t fear what they resonate with. I’ve done work before and some persons have disliked certain things but never the overall art piece. I remember telling my brand marketer (@christi_carpi) and my family members about the ideas in my head but you know how the saying goes, “seeing is believing”. Since my first print it has been all compliments and trust me when I say I’m very grateful.

Dada Kalonji-01(Dada Kalonji)

Art by: CeejArts

Did you go to art school?

No enuh, no art school. I couldn’t afford that. I did art throughout my entire school chapter though, at prep school and at Ardenne (CXC and CAPE) Then, I moved on to UTECH (University of Technology, Jamaica) for Computer Science but left after my first year because like I’ve always known, school wasn’t for me. I got back into art because Ku (@beholdtheku) wanted me to help out with his graphics. I was nothing like what I am today. In fact, the first artwork I did was hilariously trash lol but since then, which was back in 2014 until now, I’ve been around my computer watching YouTube and working. From GIMP to Illustrator. That’s why it’s like second nature now to just work. It’s funny because I was never ever preein’ to get back into art because I ran from it but I guess you can’t run from your destiny. 

How often do you practice your craft?

I work all day, everyday, 24/7. No exaggeration. I do take my breaks but it’s usually like a 2-day break and that’s when I’m gone for the weekend to recharge. To be good, you have to just do but to be great, you have to sacrifice. That’s what I’ve learnt and I’ve sacrificed my rest hours for the results i have here today. So, to all upcoming artists, practice until it becomes second nature because it will.

Put your playlist on shuffle and give me the first five selections. Let’s see what you got.

  1. Worst Behaviour – Drake
  2. Parachutes – Coldplay
  3. Tell Me Now – Chronixx
  4. Call Casting – Migos
  5. Moment in Time – Lil’ Yachty

You displayed your work at IMPRINT last year. What was that experience like for you? Was it your first time displaying your work at an art show?

Yes I did and the experience was great. The reception that I got was amazing. From my artwork to my business cards, everyone loved them. I even got interviewed by someone from LOOP but never ever saw it “pop up” lol (shaaaaaade haha) It was quite an experience. As for displaying, yes it was my first art show and I was super excited. I must say a huge shoutout to Mo (@kidding_art) for always keeping me up to par with the shows because I ain’t gonna lie I don’t really go out much. I just stay at home and work all day, so I really need to start networking. Shoutout to Roux (@rouxvolution) as well, for giving me the opportunity to take part in the event. 

In closing, is there any message that you would like to leave with the people?

Look out for my Reggae Trinity Collection, this February. Along with some other reggae and black history themed pieces. As for upcoming talents around the world, dont’t be afraid to fail. Failure is building one step closer to success. Be prepared to sacrifice everything for what you want because hard work is more than a ‘9-5’. It’s dedication and consistency. With mental practice, you can manifest whatever you want. So, don’t be afraid to think different. Stay positive and upful. I’ve been working hard since 2014 and I started to see results, 3 years later, so stay patient. Time heals and creates what can’t be seen.

Reggae Kings-01-1(Reggae Kings)

Art by: CeejArts

Wow, some powerful words there from Ceej. I don’t know about you but I am inspired. I hope that after reading this you feel like you can conquer the world too. Bless!

Keep up with Ceej online and check out more of his amazing artwork.

Website:

http://www.ceejarts.com

Instagram/Twitter: @ceejarts

Get To Know [Ep.3]: Paige

Welcome back to the #veryculture blog! Thanks for being here once again. I must say, organizing and getting through these interviews has been a mad roller coaster and a lot of fun (for me lol) Yeah, I’m having fun with this blog. It’s a lot of work but I’m having fun. This week, we have ‘the man himself’ Paige. I would advise you to read all the way through to the end lol.

First of all, why your artwork so sick and how often do you practice your craft?

Paige: Lol, caught flu and never left. I draw daily really, whether it’s for class or personal but it’s everyday.

You attend the prestigious Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. How has this school influenced your prowess as an artist?

I think in a sense that, what’s expected of you just for the mere fact that you’re in a school like this with literally everyone around you being talented, it pushes you to be a different monster and focus to maintain a certain standard right through.

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Art by: Paige

In your opinion, what’s the best and worst thing about Edna?

I would say, the best thing is as I mentioned, they push you and they hone your way of thinking making it more concrete and conceptual. The worst part lol uhh it’s not really flexible as it pertains to course selection. What’s set for you in your department is set. You don’t have much say in it.

I’m currently attending UWI and God know, it ROUGH! At any point, have you felt like dropping out?

Yeah fam lol way too much. Especially, in first and second year because at that time you have more art history and theory courses than anything else.

Put your playlist on shuffle and give me the first five selections.

  1. Bank On That – Royal Blu (UNRELEASED) 
  2. A Star is Born – J. Cole/Jay-Z
  3. Burn – Meek Mill feat. Big Sean
  4. Shipwrecked – Mick Jenkins feat. The Mind
  5. Sidewalks – The Weeknd feat. Kendrick Lamar

It is rumored that you’re Royal Blu’s ghostwriter. How true is this Sir?

Lol yeah man a me.

blue

Art by: Paige

You recently did a mural at the JUTC depot in Rockfort in collaboration with fellow visual artist, Matthew McCarthy. Was this your first collab with him and what was it like working with him?

Nah, not the first. We actually worked together on a mural project by the Young Women’s Christian Association on South Camp Road. With the one at Rockfort, it was pretty smooth. Matthew has acted as a mentor even before we begun working together so that helped. Esther Beckford worked on it with us as well.

Rockfort Mural

Photo: A section of the mural at Rockfort.

You also did some work with the new jerk spot in Kingston namely, 22 Jerk. Tell us a little more about the work you did for them.

It was just a commission thing really. Just some graphics. They saw my work, liked it and reached out.

What’s your most favourite Kanye West album? It would have to be 808’s for me.

HAAARD tie between Late Registration and Graduation.

Cyaa fight dat at all. Those are classics. In closing, is there any message you would like to leave with the people?

Yeah, me just wah everybody know seh dem a super BLXXDCLAAT star. Suh nuh mek nobody treat unnu like paperback magazine. Gaza Gennasyde. My dawg dem affi live.

That’s where we end our little chat with comedian/ Visual artist Paige. Thanks for reading. Your support means a lot to me. Stay tuned for the upcoming episodes in Season 1. Nuff more niceness is on the way.

Keep up with Paige online and check out more of his amazing artwork:

Instagram: @paigezombie

Twitter: @paigezxmbie

  

    

Get To Know [Ep.2]: Abii Paris

Greetings, nice and decent people. I hope your spirit is at peace today. Thanks for all the support and feedback on the first post. If this is your first time here, blessings to you as well. As the title states, this is Episode 2. This is a mini-series (6 episodes) dedicated to highlighting the work of some really talented Jamaican painters and(or) illustrators while getting to know them a little better. This week, we have Abii Paris. Enjoy!

I’m slightly obsessed with music. So let’s start there. Put your playlist on shuffle and give me the first five selections. [Yes, this is now a #fortheculture876 staple]

Abii:

  1. Gingerbread Boy – Miles Davis
  2. Dolores – Miles Davis
  3. Footprints – Miles Davis
  4. Feel – Post Malone ft. Kehlani
  5. Feeling Good – Nina Simone

Oooooooo nice nice. Everything here is fire. Especially Kehlani and Nina Simone. You paint to Jazz often?

Yeeeeeeess lol. I do love painting while listening to jazz. Listening to it beforehand always tend to get my creative juices flowing and that’s when the real magic happens.

Someone got inspiration for the name of their child from one of your pieces (Niayema). Tell us a little more about that.

Yes, one of my ‘parry’ (friend) from high school had messaged me to let me know that he’ll be naming his daughter after that painting. Niayema is a commissioned piece I did to embody the essence of a black woman. The name was inspired by Niyama, which is a Sanskrit word, meaning observance. It’s a yoga practice. The name Niayema is a ‘spin-off’ of Niyama and funny enough, whenever I look at the painting it does exude all that the practice is about.

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Art by: Abii Paris (Niayema)

You practice yoga?

No lol. I have tried many times but I lack the dedication needed to continue.

Tell me about something or a situation that annoyed you recently.

I walked to the supermarket yesterday and it was very annoying that I couldn’t walk in peace without men saying dirty things to me. Compliments would have been fine but saying something like, “come drop one a yuh titty dem inna mi mouth” is not cool. I feel like they are fueled by each other because once one does it then it’s like a competition and they walk you down and they are not quiet when they do so. They made me feel like I was walking down the street naked but I was clothed. It’s very annoying!

I feel you. That is one of the unfortunate realities of Jamaican society and to imagine that these same men have a mother or even worse…. a daughter or daughters. Crazy.

Yes, it’s just the sad reality.

IMG_20180113_153647Art by: Abii Paris

Alright, back to the art. I see that your website is under construction. Any update on that?

I am currently working on a few pieces to relaunch my website. So it will be under construction for a little while.

Oh ok. I know you do paintings, make jewelry and custom designed clothes. Am I missing out anything?

Yes, that pretty much sums it up.

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Art by: Abii Paris

Chippie’s over every other snack riiiiiight?

Yes! Lol although I must unashamedly admit that St. Mary’s Extra Crunchy has my heart currently.

Ahh you’re still a good person lol. In closing, is there any message you would like to leave with the people?

I’ll close with a quote from Denzel Washington.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished. It’s about what you’ve done with those accomplishments. It’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.”

That’s where we end our little chat with Abii. Thanks for reading.

Keep up with Abii Paris online and check out more of her amazing artwork:

Instagram: @foreverabiiparis

Twitter: @48ii_P4ris   

Get To Know [Ep.1]: Summer Clarke

Before I get to the culture, I just want to say…..Thanks for being here! I appreciate it a lot. I have had the idea of starting a blog bouncing around in my head for a while now but I was not too sure about the content I wanted to write about. After gaining some level of self confidence and self identity and a few words of encouragement from some friends(BIG UP UNNUSELF!!!) I just decided to do it #fortheculture. So, this blog is basically dedicated to the culture. Jamaican culture. Now to the meat of the matter.

I have always been a fan of visual art. Whether it be a painting, drawing or sculpture, I love it all. I look at some pieces and just observe in total astonishment. One word always pops up in my head and that is, HOW??? How did you create this, you amazing person??? If you want answers, what do you do? Ask questions. So, I had a little chat with Summer to find out more about the person behind the art.

The name “Summer” is actually brilliant. Give me some insight into the origin of the name and your feelings towards the name.

Summer: Well, you can thank my father, it was all his idea. He wanted his children to have very different/special names. Hence, my sister and I have the seasonal names we do. (Her sister’s name is Autumne) Funny enough, when I was a little kid, I didn’t like my name. I was teased about it a lot. As I got older, I started to realize that people aren’t a defining factor in my identity. The word ‘summer’ stems from the French “ete” which comes from the Latin “aestas” and Greek “aithein” which means to burn, to shine or to be hot. After I found that out I realised my name helped to define my purpose in life and I’ve been on that mission ever since.

IMG_20180110_163128Art by: Summer Clarke

When did you come to the realization that you are a talented artist?

Well, I always felt that way when I was a kid because I was always a top art student and people were always so astonished by my works and my family adores my creative energies. Then, I went to art school in America and realised, “wow I just might be living in a cardboard box for the rest of my days” and I stopped doing art for a long time. But then I got realigned with myself and I’m back to thinking I’m pretty great.

I’m glad you got back on the art train and you’re also willing to share your work with others because your work is amazing.

Thank you. I’m glad people are enjoying it as much as I enjoy making them.

IMG_20180110_153758Art by: Summer Clarke

Do you sell any of your pieces or is it just a hobby for you?

Well it of course started as a hobby. I always excelled at it in school and decided to just continue doing it regardless of profit or monetary value. Although, every now and again I do a few commissions. However, this year I’m hoping to organize some sort of exhibition/auction.

After viewing a couple of your pieces, it is evident that you have some kind of interest in Japanese culture. To what extent are you invested in Japanese culture?

Well like most people my age I grew up watching a lot of anime on TV and later on binge-watching several online and tons of old samurai movies from the 1950’s & 60’s. I’ve always been in love with the scenery of Japan. I also have a great love of ukiyo-e art which is an ancient form of Japanese wood-block printing. So this of course heavily influenced my pieces and why I’m always drawing Geishas every chance I get.

IMG_20180105_163042Art by: Summer Clarke

Now to a little fun lol. Put your playlist on shuffle and give me the first 5 selections. Let’s see what you got.

  1. The Girl from Ipanema – Frank Sinatra
  2. We and Dem – Bob Marley
  3. The Very Thought of You – Nat King Cole
  4. Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana – Pietro Mascagni
  5. Kamiya Dojo – Noriyuki Asakuri

In closing, is there any message you would like to leave with the people? 

Remember to breathe.

That’s where we end our chat with Summer. Thanks for reading.

Keep up with Summer online and check out more of her work:

Instagram: @summerclarke95

Twitter: @SummerdiBummer